JOHNNY Holland will start for Munster tomorrow night against Leinster in the Aviva Stadium. Anthony Foley has opted to keep Holland in the starting spot ahead of Irish international Ian Keatley, who will be on the bench.
Foley has made some big calls ahead of the must win clash at Irish rugby’s HQ. Simon Zebo gets the nod at full back, as he bumps Andrew Conway to the wing. In the centres, Francis Saili returns to the side partnering Rory Scannell, in turn, moving Keith Earls back to the wing.
There are some surprises in the scrum too as Niall Scannell will start ahead of Mike Sherry at hooker, while there is no space in the side for Irish squad member Jack O’Donoghue. James Cronin, as expected, starts at loose head, while Billy Holland will partner Donnacha Ryan in the second row. The side will be captained by CJ Stander from number 8.
Kick off in the Aviva is at 5.30pm and the game is live on both TG4 and Sky Sports.
Munster XV Simon Zebo; Andrew Conway, Francis Saili, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; Johnny Holland, Conor Murray; James Cronin, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer; Donnacha Ryan, Billy Holland; Dave O’Callaghan, Tommy O’Donnell, CJ Stander(c).
Replacements: Mike Sherry, Dave Kilcoyne, John Ryan, Robin Copeland, Jack O’Donoghue, Tomás O’Leary, Ian Keatley, Darren Sweetnam.
Ahead of the Captain’s Run later in the Aviva Stadium, Leinster Rugby Head Coach Leo Cullen has named his squad for the game tomorrow in the Aviva Stadium (Kick Off: 5.30pm – live on TG4 and SKY Sports).
With over 40,000 tickets sold there are plenty of tickets still available – starting from €20 – from leinsterrugby.ie/tickets or on match day from the ticket office based in the Ballsbridge Hotel.
There are nine changes and two positional changes in total to the starting XV that started last weekend against Connacht.
With Zane Kirchner coming in at full back, captain Isa Nacewa moves to the right wing with Dave Kearney also coming back into the equation on the left wing, winning his 98th cap for Leinster.
It is the same midfield combination of Ben Te’o and Garry Ringrose, but there are two new half backs in Eoin Reddan, who lines up against his former club, and Johnny Sexton who returns for his first Guinness PRO12 game since the Ospreys in January.
There are five changes in total in the pack with two of these in the front row as Jack McGrath and Sean Cronin start alongside Tadhg Furlong. Like Reddan, Cronin starts against his former team for whom he played on two occasions before joining Connacht.
Devin Toner comes in to partner Hayden Triggs in the second row, while in the back row Rhys Ruddock is again selected but moves from number eight to blind side flanker. Jordi Murphy comes in at open side to win his 75th Leinster cap while Jamie Heaslip completes the pack from number eight.
Leo Cullen and captain Isa Nacewa will address media today at 1.30pm upstairs in Leinster Rugby HQ.
LEINSTER (Leinster caps in brackets):
15. Zane Kirchner (62)
14. Isa Nacewa (145) CAPTAIN
13. Garry Ringrose (17)
12. Ben Te’o (34)
11. Dave Kearney (97)
10. Johnny Sexton (121)
9. Eoin Reddan (134)
1. Jack McGrath (90)
2. Sean Cronin (108)
3. Tadhg Furlong (45)
4. Devin Toner (177)
5. Hayden Triggs (11)
6. Rhys Ruddock (107)
7. Jordi Murphy (74)
8. Jamie Heaslip (212)
16. Richardt Strauss (125)
17. Cian Healy (151)
18. Mike Ross (129)
19. Ross Molony (18)
20. Josh van der Flier (21)
21. Luke McGrath (44)
22. Ian Madigan (142)
23. Fergus McFadden (140)